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Agricultural News

Ethanol Industry Craves Certainty Amid Rumors of RFS Volume Reduction, Tom Buis Says

Thu, 14 Nov 2013 15:54:33 CST

Ethanol Industry Craves Certainty Amid Rumors of RFS Volume Reduction, Tom Buis Says
Rumors have been flying for the last few weeks that the EPA is considering lowering the volume of ethanol that must be blended with gasoline under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Tom Buis, president of Growth Energy, recently spoke with Radio Oklahoma Network's Ron Hays at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters convention in Kansas City, Missouri.

Buis said the uncertainty of what the EPA will finally rule is making it very difficult on ethanol producers at the moment.

"Right now you're kind of like shadowboxing. We're fighting rumors. We want to see the real meal deal and we can figure out how to comment because the important thing for us is moving forward not backward. It's important for our country. You look at all the trillions we spent in the last 40 years on our addiction to foreign oil. The oil price is still set by OPEC which is a cartel. And a lot of those OPEC members don't like the United States. We've lost soldiers' lives and soldiers' health over those conflicts. Now's not the time to back out. We're all for an 'all of the above' energy policy but oil has taken the position that it's 'all of the above except anything renewable' and they continue to pound that out there."

Buis said that ethanol producers simply want the EPA to make its determination and move forward as quickly as possible for the good of the consumer ant the country.

"We know we can produce the stuff. We know we have the feed stocks. Everybody panicked last year because we had a hiccup in the weather, but, guess what, we've got corn running out of our ears now. An all-time-record crop. We didn't even have average weather this year. When we do, and that capacity of the American farmers is produced, we have the feed stocks. It's better for the consumer. It's better for the environment. It's better for our national security. It's a win for everyone."

Buis said there was a lot of speculation that the volume mandate for cellulosic ethanol was going to be cut further simply because there isn't the capacity out there to produce significant volumes of cellulosic ethanol at this time.

But, he said, "I don't think anyone was expecting the rumors about cutting back production capacity that's already producing. There's one thing about cutting back something that doesn't exist; it's quite different on something that does. And that's why that blend wall is so important. As long as oil refuses to want to blend higher amounts, you're going to have this controversy."

Buis said that oil companies have fought tooth and nail against the introduction of E-15 fuels. They've taken one case all the way to the Supreme Court and there are more lawsuits pending. Despite that, where retailers persevere and do offer E15, Buis said their sales have gone up.

"A retailer in Minnesota put the first one in the Twin Cities a few weeks ago. Their sales went up 35 percent because of that choice. Let the consumer make the choice. That's all we're saying. It's not mandated they have to buy E-15 or E-30 or E-85. Let the consumer make the choice at the pump. That's what oil doesn't want us to have access to."

He said that consumers having that choice is crucial to the long-term health of rural America.

"That's what the RFS does and those volume requirements are important-and they're really important for the rural economy-because if they go back on the corn demand number for ethanol, you're going to see a further collapse of corn prices. We all know that rising tide lifts all boats, but that big sinking ship carries everybody down with it as well. And we don't want to see that for rural America."

Click on the LISTEN BAR below for the audio interview with Tom Buis.


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